So here’s a set of imagery that’s been sitting on my visual backlog for a few months now, without any lavishly complimentary prose to back it up. Today, Sydney is a miserable mess of mud puddles and drowned rats – and I’m nursing a sexy fever to match (Sara, I swear you gave it to me over iMessage). So, in the spirit of escapism, we backtrack to the west coast of Morocco to a tiny and sinful surf haven by the name of Taghazout – not a clean town by any means, but drenched in enough character and molten gold sunlight to make you drunk amidst the crystal clear haze. One spends the day driving beach to beach up and down the coastline on either side, surfing until your mind can no longer handle the constant gamble, and you collapse across the sand and trade musings on life highs with red-faced Englishmen, jovial Germans and achingly beautiful Moroccans in all their quiet, Bob Marley-ed, dreaded glory (“I want my skin to look like that,” exclaimed one of the truly lobster-ed Brit girls we shared lunch with…).
Back in the main part of town, we had a choice of five restaurants – all in a row, all roughly perfect – the vegetarian burgers were out of this world incredible (by this stage of the trip, as Youssef had predicted, our digestive tracts had tired of tajines), and there was never a shortage of equestrian or street football entertainment. The sunset call to prayer was strangely nonabrasive, and watching the colourful mosque-goers divide smoothly into their gender-based entrances was soothing. Walking down to the beach to catch , I realised this was the first time since Granada that I’d had bare legs – the realisation made me feel completely naked and disgustingly rude, though the surf town had much more relaxed standards, and nobody said a thing.
At least I had my shoulders covered, Alex pointed out.
Though the print was supposed to be Peruvian, as shot by Mario Testino for his MATE charity collection, the tee was well at home amongst the kids chasing a sandy ball up and down the length of the beach. It’s amazing how distant cultures can have such strikingly similar affinity to shapes and colour – how far apart are Morocco and Cusco in Peru? Two young Moroccan girls dared each other to approach and declare their appreciation for the pattern – their father explained to Alex that they were starting a collection – the older girl wanted to be a photographer, and her baby sister was to be the first major fashion designer to come out of Morocco (“Like in VOGUE,” the little one said earnestly). They asked if I dressed like this every day. Honestly? No – the tee would more likely be seen with leather pants in a city context. “Cities make you boring,” chided the older sister.
By my photographic endeavours, Testino is, without a doubt, dances amongst my worshipped few – less so for his final frames than for his ability to charm his subject and capture the widest spectrum of emotion. He should have come to Taghazout with us – so many expressive faces for his quick wit and razor sharp lens.
But for now, I am indeed in Sydney, with my last exam for the year tomorrow afternoon.
Two Panadols and tea for me, please.
Taghazout, I miss you.